October 18, 2018
Natchitoches Parish Journal
Reference: Dear Natchitoches Taxpayer Article of October 17, 2018
Dear Natchitoches Taxpayer:
We want to thank the Natchitoches CVB Tourism Board and especially Ms. Candice Jeansonne, who stayed at our hotel Chateau St. Denis and noticed the incorrect tax rate, for bringing this matter to the CVB board members and our attention regarding the Chateau St. Denis Hotel not properly charging the correct sales tax rate on the value-added fee. Even though we have passed Natchitoches Parish and City of New Orleans sales tax audits, in which it was ruled that this fee isn’t taxable, it was because of our desire to be a good neighbor and member of the business community that we eventually agreed to collect and remit tax on this fee at the request of Mr. Jerry McWherter effective July 1st, 2018.
Prior to that it was our understanding that this fee wasn’t taxable as proven in the past Natchitoches Parish and City of New Orleans sales tax audits. The value-added fee is nothing more than a bundled charge for non-taxable items hence it was opined that the fee itself wasn’t taxable. However, we agreed to make these changes anyway which we did in our property management system (PMS) effective July 1st, 2018.
Unfortunately, due to incomplete instructions from our PMS technical support team the change only took effect with the state and local tax and not the other applicable taxes. Although we have been under collecting the tax since July 1st, 2018, it has since been fixed in our PMS. We have also agreed to remit the uncollected taxes as of July 1st, 2018 of only $1,500.00 approximately immediately.
Willful and intentional underpayment of taxes is not what happened here. As far as the upcoming opinion from the Louisiana Attorney General, we welcome the opportunity to address with him and the CVB the multiple sales tax audits where this fee was ruled non-taxable. In addition, the Natchitoches Parish Tax Administrator ruled that this tax was prospective in nature; therefore, there are no other monies owed by the Chateau St. Denis Hotel.
We’ve proven that there is no tax evasion in this case so that should not be a factor in the CVB board’s decision about Chris being on the CVB board. In fact, we believe not including the Natchitoches Events Center and Chateau Saint Denis general manager on the board is a disservice to the tax paying populace. Chris Post is one of the most involved individuals in the City as far as promoting tourism marketing, conventions and business meetings. We are required to do this as part of our contract with the City and it is also in the CVB’s mission statement.
Thank you once again for bringing all of this to our attention. Furthermore, in the future if anyone has any other challenges or questions about us, please call a meeting and invite us to an open discussion meeting so we can meet everyone, so we can all have the same agenda in promoting Natchitoches.
Warren L. Reuther, Jr.
4220 Howard Ave.
New Orleans, LA. 70125